Are your New Year’s resolutions fading? Get SMART in February instead

lh_may_16-copyLyndsay Henderson is our financial strategy specialist and here she takes a strategic approach to her own personal goal setting.

January for me, is a month of looking forward, refocussing and setting your intentions and goals for the year.

I’m a big believer in goal setting versus resolutions. I don’t like the abstinence resolutions bring, January is miserable enough as it is, and generally, by the end of week one I’ve given up. I need my vices – wine and chocolate – in moderation to make it through. Give me a goal though, a target, something to enhance my life and a path to get there and I’m in.

Inspired by a podcast I follow, I’ve set seven goals for this year. First up on my list of things to achieve is get fitter – this is a vague target and doesn’t mean much so using the tried and tested SMART technique I’m setting a specific training target per quarter and the first is running a 10k personal best by the end of March. It’s:

  • specific – run 10k in less than an hour
  • measurable – the clock won’t lie
  • agreed upon – and there’s accountability – I’ve told people I’m doing it, I’m blogging about it
  • realistic – I’m not targeting a world record, it’s not too far away from what I’ve done in the past so I think it is realistic
  • time-based – three months to achieve it (two left)

Having set my goal, I need a plan to achieve it, so I’ve set myself a training programme. The key thing for me is that it allows for flexibility, it fits in with my life and critically, I’m able to track my progress towards meeting my target.

Goal setting, strategic planning and regular review of progress towards a target is key for me to achieve my success and it is fundamental for business success. From sole traders to FTSE 100 companies and all organisations in between, it is so important that the business owners and leaders not only take time to set their goals but also to plan their strategy in how they will meet and even surpass them.

If you are thinking about, or are in the process of setting targets for your organisation for the year, think through the following process:

  1. What do I want to achieve short, medium and long term – what are your goals? This isn’t just a financial target, think about where you want to take your organisation. If you are a business owner, you’ll need to think of this from a personal and business perspective as the two are so inherently interlinked.
  2. Make your goals SMART – write them down, tell someone about them, make yourself accountable. And think about how you will celebrate when you achieve them!
  3. Then you need a plan – a step by step strategy for how to get there.
  4. Finally, you need to regularly review your progress to check you are on target and if not, what do you need to change to get there. Or could you do more and exceed it?

It’s worth considering the value of an independent sounding board to talk through your ideas, challenge you and help you formulate your strategy. Holy Brook can provide this service, so do get in touch with us as we love helping organisations understand and realise their potential.

Setting goals is such an exciting time, so take some time away from the day to day and let your mind go wild as to where you could take your organisation! Good luck.